A mini Hardwick Hall

Our last day of the staycation saw us at Gawthorpe Hall in Lancashire, another National Trust property. I have visited twice before but Mum and Ellen had never been. I particularly wanted Ellen to visit as the house was designed by the same architect as Hardwick, where she used to work and is a beautiful miniature version with an amazing textile collection. There are some historic rooms open but much of the public space contains the textiles collected by Rachel Kay-Shuttleworth.

Gawthorpe 1

Gawthorpe 2

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Rachel lived there from 1886 until 1967 and collected over 30,000 pieces of textiles, from all cultures and for all uses.

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She was an avid embroiderer and promoter of arts and crafts of all kinds which she taught to keep the skills alive.

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This small display of ecclesiastical goldwork reminded me of my visit to the Elizabeth Hoare collection in Liverpool.

Rachel believed that creativity had health and and social benefits. I like to think that she and I would have been very good friends if I had ever been able to meet her, she sounds wonderful. The collection is maintained by a charity and works with schools and local communities as well as stitchers.

I love this display of her desk in one of the rooms, her stitching is on the walls and in the drawers are all the sorts of things she would have used, I love seeing this very personal side of stitching and can imagine her writing articles for embroidery magazines and deciding on new projects here.

There were some very similar pieces to those in the Women Travellers exhibition at Bankfield Museum that came from Eastern Europe and Asia.

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Gawthorpe 23

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The displays have changed since I last went about 5 years ago and there were so many wonderful pieces of whitework and lace on display.

These are two things I have never done but am fascinated by the delicacy of the work and think that the shawls and collars are beautiful. Maybe one day I will be able to incorporate something like this into a Steampunk costume.

Another thing I loved were these hexagons that she had collected, they had been fussy cut and posted to someone, probably as gift.

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I think it is so exciting to see actual papers made of scraps, you can just imagine the sender making these and sending them to a special friend. There were also some hexagon needlebooks and you know how I love a good hexagon!

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Gawthorpe 5

Rachel’s personal rooms also contained this wonderful bed with crewelwork hangings, I am really looking forward to the day when I have a hand- made quilt on my bed, I have one as a work in progress but it will probably be a retirement project as have not touched it for about a year. Luckily fabric does not go off!

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Gawthorpe 31

There was also a display of contemporary embroidery inspired by the collection with some beautiful whitework pieces and silk embroidered birds and insects.

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This case of needle work tools was also inspired by the collection.

I have been embracing Rachel’s philosophy very much this week, we are right in the middle of marking season, with the added work on my doctorate and so it has been wonderful to sit and stitch in the evenings. I have been working on a table decoration for my Make do and Mend display and so have been quietly doing chain stitch while watching Netflix, very soothing after a hard day of thinking!

I have transformed a man’s shirt into a blouse for my display as well and am now busy working on other aspects, luckily both Jake and I have worn through socks recently so I will be able to demonstrate my darning mushroom and darning egg and I have just got a copy of a vintage pattern for making some patchwork slippers so that is my next project for the event.I am really enjoying the research for the event and have been doing lots of very interesting reading. I have also just won an auction on Ebay for some clothing and food ration books to add to my artifacts which I am very excited about. I will do a post all about that in a little while but my next post will be all about the Haworth 1940s event that Ellie and I are going to this weekend.

We are very excited, Howarth is such a cute village, home to the Bronte sisters and I have not been to this event before, though we have done a Steampunk one there a few years ago. The tablecloth jacket will have an outing as I have decided it is a great example of Make do and Mend and I will be putting on my false eyelashes and red lipstick for a bit of 1940s glamour. I am aiming for something like the gorgeous Gene Tierney here.

Gene-Tierney-makeup-1940s-

As with when we do Steampuk it always seems strange to be wearing make up and costume as I am so used to medieval re-enactment and shapeless clothing and all my hair covered. It will be lovely to be able to have a bit of 1940s style and I can’t wait to see all of the gorgeous outfits there.

Hope that you all have a nice weekend planned, take care and thanks for visiting.

 

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Women who broke the mould

One of our staycation trips before Spain was to Bankfield Museum in the local town of Halifax. It is a beautiful museum situated just outside the town in what was a mill-owner’s house.

Bankfield Museum 30

The Ackroyd family that lived there also built a model village, Ackroydon,  in the surrounding area with well-designed houses for the workers that they then helped their staff to buy, so they were real social campaigners, aside from living in the very glamorous Italian style mansion house!

I have wanted to go there for a while to see their costume collection, that is currently being re-organised and will open in late May so Ellie and I have plans to visit later in the summer. However there was a really good exhibition on Women Travellers that had the added bonus of lots and lots of fascinating textiles.

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Bankfield Museum 5

The exhibition told the story of four women, Gertrude Bell, who I was familiar with already, Edith Durham, Lizzie Humphries and Anne Lister. Lizzy and Anne were local women, the others came from Durham and London.

Bankfield - Gertrude

Bankfield - Edith

Bankfield -Lizzie

Bankfield - Anne

All of them had travelled extensively on their own and Edith in particular collected lots of examples of textiles as she did so.She mainly explored the Balkans and came back with some beautiful examples of traditional costume including marvelous embroidery and goldwork.

Many of the items were gifts for weddings including the beautiful embroidered gauze towels in these pictures above and below, There was also such intricate goldwork!

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I really liked this blackwork piece above, I have not done any blackwork for so long but I love the stunning effect with just one colour of thread.

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A particular favourite of mine in the exhibition was her drawings of people in costume and the photos and postcards that she collected.I also loved all the original labels.

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One of the things that I noticed was the way that the women’s exploration was portrayed by media of the time. Lizzy Humphries’ husband actually abandoned her and their round the world walking tour, (taking most of their money with him!), but the poor women still had to suffer being referred to as Mrs Harry Humphries , spelt wrongly below, by newspapers and posters, she didn’t even get to go by her own name!

A really brilliant exhibition, I love things like this, there is so little that tells people about the different roles that women played in travel, research and politics like these women did.

There are also other exhibitions as well like this small one of various ceramics in a room with a wonderful tiled floor.I can’t wait to go back to the museum as they are also going to be having a Halifax at War exhibition as well from June 8th with lots of original photos. And entry to the museum is totally free!

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Bankfield Museum 29

I was originally supposed to be at a festival with my sister this weekend but my back and joints are not very happy at the moment so I have (probably wisely) given up three days camping for a weekend in the house sorting out my Make do and Mend garments and some work on my doctorate.

I hope that you have a good weekend whatever you are planning and if you are in the UK a nice and hopefully not too cold and wet Bank Holiday weekend.Take care and thanks for visiting.

A tale of two airports …. and a staycation

Well if you were expecting to see photos of lovely Krakow I am afraid that I will have to disappoint you, at least for the moment, as sadly we didn’t get to go on holiday. It was a very simple but unrecoverable error as we went to the wrong airport and so missed our flight 😦 and were unable to rearrange things to go later.

90% of the time we fly from Manchester and this holiday was booked from Leeds Bradford and despite us both checking the times on the boarding passes about 8 times as we had made a mistake before and nearly missed a flight to Spain we did not notice and did not realise until we got to the wrong airport.

We were really upset, me more so than Mum who was very calm about it all, but nothing could be done in the end so we came back home from the airport a short while later. We did then have a lovely staycation, the weather was beautiful and we were out every day and as a bonus my wonderful daughter Ellie came over on her day off to take us out which was great for Mum as she wasn’t expecting to see her this trip.

So Krakow will have to wait until next year, meanwhile I can show you some more of the delights of the Peak District and Lancashire! We had two great trips out involving museums and textiles which I will post about separately but these are from our trips to the cute little village of Uppermill and the local canal walk.

Uppermill 1

Uppermill 2

We went over the border to one of the loveliest little villages in Lancashire full of cute houses and gift shops and walked along the canal to Greenfield then up to a beautiful reservoir that I haven’t visited for years, Dovestones. It was a gorgeous day as you can see by all the sunlight reflecting on the water and through the trees.

Dovestones 1

Dovestones 2

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The following day we had a good three hour walk along the canal with the great excitement of watching a boat go through the locks.

This part of the canal is a dead end at my village and with 10 locks along a short stretch of water it doesn’t get much traffic so it was fascinating to watch this boat go through.

We are so lucky to live in such a lovely place and despite the disappointment we had a great week, and we did manage to get the right airport at the right time at the end of that week to get to Spain where I had a very relaxing two weeks in (mostly) glorious sunshine.

I will be back later in the week with some textile loveliness for you from our trips, in the meantime take care and thanks for visiting.

Favourite colours

Although I love purple I am also really fond of turquoise and pink, my craft room is in these colours and I love how they look together.I realised when I was sorting out photos for this post that both my recent makes are in the same colours.

I have been very productive on the doctorate front with about 10,000 words written this week and I am aiming for a few more before I leave for Poland on Monday. I will then have three weeks not thinking about it at all which will be brilliant. Much as I am enjoying doing it I am spending a lot of time staring at the screen and am really looking forward to reading books and going for walks when in Spain, and of course seeing Krakow which looks stunning!

I finished this little basket as a birthday present for a friend’s not so little girl last weekend, she is 11 this year and I was really pleased to be able to get some matching nail polish and toe separators as I know that she loves painting her nails.This is the smallest version of the Friends of the One Hour basket pattern and is available via a link from this blog for just £4. I have made this pattern so many times now it is so versatile and I love it.

I have also finished another outfit for Barbie, well nearly, the dress is still pinned together and needs the Velcro adding but that will be done before I take it to Spain as a gift for one of my cousin’s daughters.

Barbie coat and dress 4

I used the leftover shirt fabric as before with some other scraps and the coat pattern comes from my old pattern book that I mentioned in my original Barbie clothes post.

Barbie coat and dress 1

Barbie coat and dress 2

The coat is a little big but I think it looks very snug and the yarn is lovely and soft. I have a turquoise shrug to go with the outfit as well and another few dresses in progress to go with a pink version of the coat as well.

Barbie coat and dress 3

Although I haven’t started on the WW2 make do and mend outfit I have had a charity shop bargain haul and came home with a jacket, two shirts, some trousers and a hat all for £5 which I was very pleased with. I also bought a bag and a pair of sandals for Spain for £1 each. This is an RSPCA clearance shop where everything is £1 but I don’t often go there as it is out of town but was in the area and was really pleased to get all of that.

I will take some before pictures of the items and then I need to get cracking on that when I return, I am fast running out of days to do everything so if anyone finds a knitting pattern for an extra day a week please send me a link 🙂

I am off to Sarah’s now as she is having a wool de-stash, I am going to be good and not try and buy anything but am just going for a bit of a catch up, there may be wine involved!

I will be back in three weeks, take care, have fun and thanks for visiting.

Withdrawal symptoms

Although I have been having fun knitting things for Barbie I have missed stitching so I will be taking some embroidery on holiday with me, maybe even something vintage that I can use for my Make do and Mend display.

I still have lots of Jenny’s lovely Stitchery club things to make and she has recently posted a lovely new version of her vintage needlebook. This is a great Make do and Mend project turning an embroidered doiley into a beautiful needlebook. The pictures are from Jenny’s site and the instructions are here.

ELEFANTZ vintage style needlebook main pic

I love the crochet she has done on the edge of the wadding inside the needlebook, would love to be able to crochet but can’t get the hang of it!And she has hexis and you know how much I love hexis!

She also posted a link to this beautiful free design from her friend Fee’s blog. I love this and am seriously tempted to stitch this for me, either as a hanging for the sewing room or as a project bag/file cover. I do need some other stitching friends to make things for though as I often run out of people to gift things to! Picture from Fee’s site.

Fee's craft studio button jar

There are lots of other lovely projects that make lovely presents at Fee’s blog as well as she has a year of gifts series with lots of great free ideas, I also love these vintage embroidery needlecases. Photo from Fee’s blog.

Fee's craft studio vintage needlebooks

Something that has been on my wishlist for a while is this cute retro camper design, this would make up into a very cute travel pouch and I love the idea of applique and embroidery. It is a free pattern from Flamingo Toes blog here.

retro camper embroidery

Not that I have got time for any of this at present, I have been having a very social week so have hardly been in to do anything which has been very nice 🙂 I will have to spend most of this weekend working on the doctorate apart from trying to get the Barbie things finished in the evenings.

I have a deadline next week so have to write about 8,000 words by Friday, wish me luck! It will all be over fairly soon and then I have the summer to look forward to with some new things to make for Yarndale, I may try some more sheep themed things as they went down well.

I hope that you are all going to have a lovely weekend ahead, it has been beautifully sunny today so even though I will be inside most of the time I will hopefully have lovely weather to look at.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

Make do and mend

As you may have guessed I love history 🙂 most periods fascinate me but obviously I have my particular passions such as medieval and Tudor. One area that I have been very much interested in over the last few years is World War Two, partly inspired by reading but also as we have gone multiperiod events over the years I have loved visiting the camps of these re-enactors.

Some years ago I started re-purposing material in different ways, making pouches out of old jeans, quilting and patchwork and started to think more about that whole area of reusing things. I have also acquired lots of lovely textiles from the 40s and 50s through my charity shop finds.

So when Ellie said that Clumber were having a WW2 weekend this summer to pay homage to Clumber’s involvement with the making of a trench digging machine I really wanted to be involved somehow. I loved being a WW1 Land girl last summer so I have volunteered to put on a little display of the Make do and Mend campaign.

Make do and mend

For those of you who are not aware this was a government campaign linked to the introduction of rationing, specifically when clothing coupons were introduced and people were encouraged to use textiles they already had in creative ways.

I am basing my character on the lovely Nella Last who I mentioned in my last post. Nella wrote diaries for the Mass Observation Archive all throughout the war and beyond so we have a really detailed account of her life and she often mentions textile work. I loved both the books of her diaries and the film so have decided that I will portray a WI woman who is giving information and advice of the sort that Nella would have encountered. These pictures below show Nella with her son and husband, I love the embroidered top she is wearing in the picture with her son.

Nella Last and son

 

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I have got some wonderful reproductions of the advice leaflets, featuring Mrs Sew and Sew, I intend to separate these from their books for my table top display.

Mrs Sew and Sew

Make do and mend books 1

I have also been doing some research on fashion for me. I need to create an outfit suitable for a middle aged WI woman, a sensible flat shoed but still interested in fashion enough to want to wear nice things kind of person who is passionate about sewing and wants to pass on her skills.I have found this site, Vintage Dancer, very helpful. I have even found someone who made a dress out of tablecloths like my jacket!

Most of this will involve charity shop repurposing as I am good at that and using men’s garments to make women’s clothes was a great source of fabric so I am on the look out for suitable starting items. I also need a hat as I think my lady would have been a great hat wearer. Plus I love hats 🙂

The event takes place in early June but we are going to an event a bit beforehand as well as visitors so need to have something sorted by mid May.So that will keep me out of mischief considering I am away for three weeks over Easter and only get back at the end of April. Thankfully WW2 things are a lot easier to make than medieval!

I have done very little crafting since I last posted, I have been so busy with a very hectic but lovely  week at work where we took the students out to do some activities and had a conference so there have been a lot of early bedtimes for me. I have managed another Barbie dress this Sunday and am still knitting. I will attempt some more finishing this weekend but I am working this Saturday again so time is limited.

I hope you are having a lovely week so far, time seems to really be flying this year, can’t believe we are only 3 weeks away from the end of term and the little matter of a large amount of doctorate needing to be submitted 😮

Take care whatever you are doing and thanks for visiting.

The miracles of blocking

I have been very productive with my knitting, this pile below looks slightly less impressive when you know that it is all Barbie sized but I am still pleased as I have not knitted for a few years.

Barbie blocking 6

I love knitting but especially love knitting little things, some years ago I knitted thirteen of Julie’s wonderful animals and various dresses for them and would love to make some more of those again.

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I spent quite a bit of time yesterday blocking all the little pieces ready for sewing them all together, I am always amazed that a little bit of steam turns things from a curly mess to a lovely flat piece and had a happy time in my sewing room sorting all of these out.

Barbie blocking 1

Barbie blocking 2

I have so far knitted two jumpers and a coat, all from the old Barbie knitting patterns book that I have had since Ellie was little, and a shrug from this site. I am halfway through another coat in pink. The wool is a lot brighter turquoise than it looks in this picture.

Barbie blocking 3

Barbie blocking 4

Barbie blocking 5

I have only made one dress so far, this was very quick and easy from a tutorial at this site here.

Barbie shrug and dress 3

Barbie shrug and dress 2

Barbie shrug and dress 1

This is scrap material from a shirt I bought some years ago just for the fabric and I have used it in various things.One of the first was for this little appliqued bunny on the back of one of my very first quilts in 2010 that I donated to the children’s hospice.

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I do love making use of my scrap bin, fits in so well with my passions for recycling and making things out of little scraps! The great thing about having a blog as well is that I can track my uses of all of the fabric over the years.I have only just finished using bits of the offcuts from the quilt fabric and am down to the tiniest scraps now which are still appearing in pincushions like the one below.

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The shirt material I used is slightly stretchy which was great for the top part of the dress. I just have to get some Velcro now and some cute pink ribbon for a belt. I am trying as far as possible to use stash but will allow myself a bit of haberdashery 😉

I am loving making these clothes, I have various little girls who have birthdays from May until August and there are always Christmas presents to consider so I might just make nothing else this year!

However I do have another longish term project coming up which I will tell you more about in another post. This is something inspired by this woman, Nella Last, played here by Victoria Wood in the film Housewife 49, and is going to form quite a big part of my summer in one way or another.

ITV ARCHIVE

 

More of that later, for now I shall be carrying on with using up all those lovely balls of wool that have been languishing neglected for years. I particularly love the variegated lilac one, some of my favourite colours.

Hope that you are all enjoying what you are doing this week, we have a nice week ahead at work with a couple of trips out with the students and then I have most of the weekend off which is very exciting as I have been teaching a lot of Saturdays just recently.

Take care and thanks for visiting.